This is my first book review. On my blog, that is.
The book is titled After, by Anna Todd.
It is the first in her After Series . . .
Book Four: After Ever Happy (Releasing February 24th!)
. . . which is apparently a major success, so far. But, me being the ignoramus I am, don’t pay much attention to trends. I heard about the book series on the Robsessed blog that I regularly visit because . . . well, because I love Rob Pattinson (who doesn’t?)
So needless to say, I went into this book having no idea that it began as FANFICTION. Not only fanfic, but One Direction fanfiction. I have nothing against boy bands– I’ve loved the New Kids On The Block (random-braggy side note: Donnie Wahlberg follows me on Twitter!) since I was 14– but I must admit that I probably wouldn’t have given these books a shot if I had known that from the beginning.
So here’s the blurb:
Now newly revised and expanded, Anna Todd’s After fanfiction racked up 1 billion reads online and captivated readers across the globe. Experience the Internet’s most talked-about book for yourself!
There was the time before Tessa met Hardin, and then there’s everything AFTER… Life will never be the same. #Hessa
Tessa is a good girl with a sweet, reliable boyfriend back home. She’s got direction, ambition, and a mother who’s intent on keeping her that way.
But she’s barely moved into her freshman dorm when she runs into Hardin. With his tousled brown hair, cocky British accent, tattoos, and lip ring, Hardin is cute and different from what she’s used to.
But he’s also rude—to the point of cruelty, even. For all his attitude, Tessa should hate Hardin. And she does—until she finds herself alone with him in his room. Something about his dark mood grabs her, and when they kiss it ignites within her a passion she’s never known before.
He’ll call her beautiful, then insist he isn’t the one for her and disappear again and again. Despite the reckless way he treats her, Tessa is compelled to dig deeper and find the real Hardin beneath all his lies. He pushes her away again and again, yet every time she pushes back, he only pulls her in deeper.
Tessa already has the perfect boyfriend. So why is she trying so hard to overcome her own hurt pride and Hardin’s prejudice about nice girls like her?
Unless…could this be love?
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Not that it was the most well-written piece of literature, because honestly, I caught myself a few times wishing I could edit things here and there, but the overall story was wonderful.
Tessa Young is this naive 18 year-old that I totally relate to. She’s spent most of her very sheltered childhood trying to please everyone around her. Mostly her difficult, controlling mother. So when she gets to college, Tessa has no idea who she actually is. And since Tessa’s mother never really respected her as a person, it’s easy for me to see why Tessa doesn’t understand or catch on when people treat her badly.
And she is treated badly. To say she’s bullied would put it mildly.
Tessa has a very forgiving heart and does her best not to judge people by the way they look, and her inexperience makes her an easy target. She ends up taking her new found “friends” at their word, and dismissing their actions that speak to the contrary.
Enter Hardin Scott. He is friends with Tessa’s college roommate and he’s bad news. He teases Tessa relentlessly. But there’s something about him that she can’t resist.
As Tessa became involved with Hardin, the slightly older, very obvious troublemaker and love-interest, I worried for her. I understood that her big heart and comforting nature made her want comfort Hardin, the cruel, broken boy, despite the pain he caused her and I also kind of hated him for accepting her kindness.
Even though I felt there were some character inconsistencies with Hardin, I was able to overlook them because the traits that I thought contradicted each other, turned out making sense as I kept reading.
As the story unfolded, Hardin, with his sarcastic sense of humor and filthy mouth, won me over. And I found myself really rooting this unlikely couple.
Then there is the ruthless back and forth, break up to make up type stuff that happens with most relationships. Except much worse; Hardin has no idea how to treat people. And Tessa has no idea how to say no. And even after all angst and desperate cruelty, I still wanted them to work it out. I wanted Tessa to be happy.
Then THE ENDING! (I’m not giving anything away. If you want to know the terrible awful, then you’ll have to get the book or click the Fanfic link above to read the OG story on wattpad.) OMG. This final revelation made my jaw drop! And I cried my eyes out. I was furious, too. It reaffirmed my original thoughts on Tessa; that she was not the most reliable narrator.
And, boy-oh-boy, was I ever glad that I didn’t find this series when it was first released. Because this book–all of them in this series actually–end on a cliffhanger.
I am NOT a fan of the cliffhanger. Generally, if a book I want to read has one, I will wait until the series is concluded to read it. I hate the feeling of waiting, of not knowing what is going to happen to the characters I have grown to love and having to wait an entire year to find out. It’s one of my peeves.
There are so many other elements to this story, so many things that I loved and hated, and loved that I hated, and surprises and hits I never saw coming, it was truly refreshing. Most of the time, as I am reading a romantic-type story, I can tell where the plot is going to lead. But with this one, the problems I foresaw where just the tip of what turned out to be a Titanic sinking iceberg.
That concludes my first book review!
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